Birds of Iraq: Pelicans
Many people think of Iraq as all desert. While true in parts of the south and Al Anbar province, Iraq is known for its water. The Tigris and Euphrates rivers have historically fed the large marshlands in the southern part of the country near Basra, Nasiriyah and Qurnah, the traditional site of the garden of Eden. Smaller marshes near Fallujah and Ramadi as well as lakes scattered around the country provide excellent habitat for wintering waterbirds.
Three species of Pelican are listed as being recorded in Iraq. Two are regular visitors and 1 is a vagrant.
Pink-backed Pelican - Apparently a rare visitor from its southern breeding grounds in the Red Sea and Africa. Even though this is one of the smallest pelican species it still has a wingspan of 8 feet.
Great White Pelican - A winter visitor to the marshes and lakes of Iraq. A high count of over 1200 birds was recorded at Haur Al Hammar Marsh near Amara in the southern part of Iraq in censuses in the late 1970's.
Dalmatian Pelican - A rare winter visitor to similar areas as the Great White Pelican. The high count at Haur Al Hammar was 81 birds, again in the 1970's.